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Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Sad Story of Miss Kaitlyn Hunt

Kaitlyn Hunt is an 18 year old high school senior from Florida.  She was arrested, once she turned 18, for statutory rape, or what they are calling lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years of age.  The police taped a conversation with Kaitlyn and her girlfriend.  The relationship occurred, according to Hunt’s father, when the two were 14 and 16, but the younger girlfriend’s parents waited until Kaitlyn turned 18 and had her arrested.  They have offered a plea deal “that would allow her to avoid registering as a sex offender if she pleads guilty to lesser charges of child abuse. State Attorney Bruce Colton said he would recommend two years of house arrest followed by one year probation if she takes the deal.”

There is a lot going on in this case.  And I’m not sure where I stand on it, except that I know I had two relationships with seniors when I was a freshman in high school.  One of those seniors turned 18 while we were dating and my parents could easily have accused him of statutory rape (if they knew we were sexually active, which they didn’t, at the time).  But they never would have done so.  I was in love.  They knew that.  They knew we were teenagers, even though one of us did turn the “official” age of 18.

I do not think statutory rape laws were put in effect to disallow teenagers from having relationships with each other.  They were put in effect to keep young women from being prayed upon by older men.  I think of the 21+ year old and the 15 year old.  

Or is this just about a young girl’s parents being totally freaked out that she’s possibly a lesbian?  I think so.  To go and ruin her “friend’s” life without ever even talking to her or the parents seems very strange.  An intelligent, caring and mature parent would have asked the Hunt family to come over and discuss the issue and tell Kaitlyn she couldn’t see their daughter again until their daughter was 18 or something like that.  Now that would make sense.

The whole situation seems very sad to me and I can only hope the Judge who hears this case sees it the same way.  See more here.

What do you think?  Is this rape?  Do 18 year old seniors need to only have intimate relationships with people their age or older?  Realistically how often does this happen? 

Lay Down and Take it

I spent a day in Boston this week.  And while I have been considering writing about this topic, I hesitated (yes, I hesitated!) as I think it is a wee bit controversial.  I am troubled by the lack of criticism regarding the closing of an entire city for a day.  Terrorism has a unique effect on people from the U.S.

For example, a friend of my father’s who was “locked down” in Watertown, wrote an article about how great a job the police did and how safe they all felt, being protected under what I would call martial law.  I humbly disagree.  The unarmed, injured 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found BECAUSE people were allowed out of their homes and into their streets.  He would not have been spotted had this man not been allowed to check out his boat.  And this was in an area outside of the section the police had been searching. 

The cost of shutting down a metropolis like Boston was estimated by one analyst in The Washington Post  “between $250 million and $333 million per day.”

Others have suggested that closing the city for a one person manhunt demonstrates to terrorists that their individual acts of smaller bombs can have a long range effect of putting an entire city in fear, a tactic that might appeal to them.

I question all of this behavior in response to terrorism.  First of all, abortion clinics have been sites of bombings for years and years.  Do you recall Boston being shut down in 1994 when the Brookline shootings happened?  “According to NAF, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 41 bombings of abortion clinics.”  (NAF)

These 41 actions do not include murders, arson and acid attacks on clinics.  But I do not recall any “shut down” of a community, town, or city after one of these attacks.  An anti-abortion fanatic can bomb abortion clinics all day long with no massive police presence.  

My concern for all of this is how easily U.S. citizen, who value freedom, I think, above all else, gave that up so quickly for one 19 year old boy.  It was easy.  It was quick.  No one questioned what was happening.

I expect much more from this country and from our citizens.  We are not the “lay down and take it” kind of people.  We fight for our beliefs, we debate, we value liberty, but maybe we should begin questioning much more how the media can get us to “do” anything or to “believe” anything, even if they are reporting a request from a Governor or the Chief of Police.  Police searched homes, without a warrant, all day long and people allowed it.  Protecting us should not mean we are locked in our homes for a day or that we are giving up our 4th amendment rights. 

While what happened in Boston was tragic, so were the 41 bombings, 175 acts of arson, 100 butyric acid attacks, 191 assault & batteries, 524 incidents of stalking, 17 attempted murders, and 8 murders.  In all violence against abortion clinics, the total is 769 incidents to date. (NAF) This type of terrorism, while ignored by our media and many in our culture, far outweighs what happened in Boston on April 15th.

Hey, Neighbor!

Tuesday three women were released from 10 years in captivity in a suburban neighborhood in Cleveland.  If I lived in Cleveland right now I would be throwing up.  How can three teenagers go missing and the police just give up?  Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I think if they were three young men, the search would’ve been a bit more thorough.  What’s three less women on the planet anyway?  Girls go missing every day to human trafficking, right? Who needs girls?

We don’t think this happens in the United States. And maybe fifty years ago it wouldn’t have.  That was back when neighbors talked to each other and knew each others comings and goings.  I have a neighbor who we jokingly call “Mrs. Kravitz” from the old sitcom Bewitched because she knows all the comings and goings of the neighborhood.  In fact, she knew our next door neighbors were moving before I did.

Do you know your neighbors?  Take a step outside.  Look to your left.  Know them?  We were friendly with our neighbors to the left, they moved and new neighbors moved in.  They were nice, but we didn’t click the way we did with their predecessors.  But even though we didn’t click, we still were nice to each other.  We picked up their newspapers when they went on vacation. And they’ve gotten our dog George in when he’s left the back yard.  Look to your right.  Do you know them?  For me, it’s a Pickling Factory, so I’m good on that one.  Look across the street.  I know both sets of neighbors whose houses are across from mine. We hang out with the neighbors directly across to the left.  We’d all do anything for each other, from watching dogs, making dinner, having after-work drinks, and getting together to play our famous game of washers, or Pennsylvania horseshoes as some call it. When we have our annual summer party, the houses adjacent to mine and two houses down all get an invitation. The people across the street always bring a cooler of beer and leave it for the night.  I want to build community while alerting the neighbors that there will be lots of cars and really awesome music playing. 

All the news I heard yesterday on this case was how quite a few people claimed to have called the police on suspicious things happening in this house over the years.  What kind of a neighborhood is it?  Is it one where the police avoid?  We know there are “those kinds of neighborhoods” in this racially charged world.  Class and race play out in the criminal justice system in such an expansive way we cannot even begin to analyze how people in poorer communities get arrested for minor infractions or ignored for major needs, like this very case.

One can only hope this blip in our history is a teachable moment.  One can only hope that these young women (who aren’t girls anymore, by the way, media!) get the psychiatric help they need to heal from this horrific decade in their young lives.  And one can only hope that people will begin to look out for each other in a different way.  A bystander is someone who is neither a victim nor a perpetrator.  It is someone who can call for help, stop an action, intervene.  We need to build a community of bystanders so that a story like this is never told again.

Praise Jesus! NBA Player Comes Out of the Closet!

So this week our FIRST NBA player came out as gay.  Oh Hallelujah! A few people sent me links about this, that I should be just so pleased.  Should I really be pleased that in 2013 an industry that has supported homophobia and perhaps encouraged a wee bit of misogyny has finally accepted ONE person who is gay or should I say allowed for ONE person being gay?  A colleague of mine posted this on her Facebook that day:  “things I give absolutely no sh*ts about today: athletes. gay athletes. gay athletes coming out of the closet. why? I’m really unfazed by unchecked athlete-worship, especially among folk who normally keep a close eye on institutions, athletic and otherwise, that promote and sustain racism, rape culture, and homophobia.” She has a point.  Then a friend from college posted this article from BuzzFeed on Women Athletes.

And both their posts gave me pause.  

Why is it whenever men do ANYTHING that is the RIGHT thing, they get all kinds of accolades?  Let me list some:  the dishes, parenting, crying, “helping out” at home, taking out the garbage without being asked, supporting women, speaking up for women, helping stop rape, coming out as a gay athlete.  Women who are constantly trying to find balance in a world of inequality are rarely given any accolades.  How many women get accolades for working their asses off in a professional career and raising children who then contribute to society?  There should be a fucking prize for that.  Especially if the other parent in the picture was one who had to be asked to do anything that really was in his original job description of a parent.   

So maybe it is momentous that an athlete in the only sports that really get any attention in our culture, aka MEN’s sports, is out and gay.  But what is the larger question here?  I think it is about why professional athletic teams are only those that men are part of.  Women’s professional sports exist on a very minimal basis.  How many college women graduate hoping to continue to do their sport are left with minor league regional teams or the Olympics?  Sure, the WNBA exists, but it exists and does not have the kind of support the NBA, the NHL, MLB or NFL does.  Not even close.  

This is one of those “so-called” momentous moments in life where instead I feel like I’m lying under a pile of rocks weighted down by the immense cultural changes needed in our culture from equality for women athletes, and even their basic representation to the ways in which women in this country will never achieve balance or stress free lives if they choose to have children.  Never.  

And as for Jason Collins, I hope you take some of that privilege as an NBA player and do it to help other gay young people of color be supported in their communities, their schools and their homes, regardless of whether they are athletes or are part of the theatre club.

my feminist praxis

critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

The Feminist Critic

Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.